(Note: I’m back in NYC now, but there are plenty more Hawai’i posts to be completed :)
It is a given. Saturday mornings in Hawai’i = KCC Farmer’s Market. Also a given: everyone is bound to run into everyone they know. That’s the way this community works, and that’s the way it should be. Some people you only run into every once in a while, others your run into every weekend. Either way, you always feel very welcome under the morning sun and breezy trade winds. The market is open for less than four short hours on Saturday mornings, 7:30am-11am. Don’t bother coming after 9am if you’re interested in the products, because all the good stuff will be gone by then. Hot dishes, drinks and sweets are another matter.
The market itself. Is. HolycrazyhowcomesoooAMAZING.
You think NYC’s Greenmarket is something?
Waialua Sodas – made on the North Shore
Where else are you going to find Kalua Pig plate lunches, lau lau, taro mochi, Akamai oatcakes, local mangoes and papayas, ginger syrup, Big Island lavender, kim chee fried rice, lilikoi cheesecake mochi, taro AND ti leaves?
One of my favourite people I reliably “run” into every visit to the Farmer’s Market is Mrs. Yap, the home ec teacher at Punahou. While I never had the opportunity to take her class during my middle school years (random selection, I got put in the art studio. Figures.), we worked closely together during high school when she was the adviser my Culinary Club, the first of it’s kind at Punahou ^_^ We keep in touch through email, food, and of course, run-ins at the market.
Last week I ran into her, or rather my dad did, while in line at the North Shore Farms tomato booth. It wasn’t their whole ruby red tomatoes we were after (though those are pretty delicious), but the Pesto Grilled Pizza which is CRAZY. Like…CRAZY.
This photo fails to do the pizza the slightest justification, it doesn’t tell you of the grilled crust with just the right amount of char in just right places. It barely hints generous smothers of garlicky mac nut pesto hidden beneath slices of sweet local tomatoes, warm and melting. Unfortunately, all you mostly see is fresh mozzarella melting over the surface and a single basil, just plucked. The only way to know, is to try.
The menu showcases a few different drinks ranging from the basic ginger ale with or without basil to another version with added pineapple juice, lime and mint, and yet another with serrano peppers and lemon. I took the traditional route with the Ginger Cooler, a mix of their ginger syrup with carbonated water, sweet basil, and lemon…
There’s a pretty wide variety of local honeys on hand: lehua, christmasberry, Big Island mac nut, monkeypod…I keep on telling myself I need to get around to trying them all, but man, it’s hard to stay away from the mac nut cinnamon! ^_^
The string beans aren’t too shoddy either! :) Mom used this particular batch of beans for a simple weeknight stirfry with beef.
Our last stop is at Bale, positioned at the far end of the market. Rodney Weddle is the man in charge of all the wonderful baked goods at the stand, churning out the most rustic breads you can find in Hawai’i. Sometimes we go for the hearty olive loaf, or a dark and sweet fig version. But more often that not, we fall victim to the plush round of potato bread. $6 might not seem like a lot for bread, especially compared with the prices here in NYC…but, when you consider that the fantastic buttertop loaf at Saint Germain is under $4, then you must think twice. Nonetheless, it’s a huge billowing round, topped with potatoes, onions and a melted parmesean. The size is almost daunting at first, but then you’ll be glad…
KCC Farmer’s Market
4303 Diamond Head Rd
Honolulu, HI 96816